T7: Collecting Data and Continuing your Action Research "We must become the change we wish to see in the world." -- Mahatma Gan

Activity A: Data Collection Planning


Activity 1) Create a Data Collection Plan: Review your cycle question and your logic model focusing on the near outcomes. What data will help you know if the outcome you are looking for happened? You will nee to decide on what data will help you answer the question. List the forms of data you can think of to collect that will help you answer this question. For each data artifact decide why, when, who and how you will collect it, as well as what consent or permissions you will need to be able to do this.
Consider these questions to help you develop your data collection plan
  1. What data will you collect? It is helpful to gather data on the same question in different ways, using different sources, and at perhaps at different time periods (triangulation). Review the list in the resources and think about data sources from more than one of the categories. In your review of literature, what data did others collect? Did they have a survey that you can use?
  2. Why are you collecting this data? Explore the connections between you overall research question and your cycle question. Will this data help you understand what happened as a result of your action in a way that addresses your goals? Do not collect piles of research data -- be mindful of your timeline and what you can reasonably collect and analyze. It can be as simple as having a few conversations with co-workers, or using an educational activity as your data.
  3. Who is going to collect it? Is this data being collected by you, or by a team of colleagues working together?
  4. Where and When are you going to collect the data? Fill out our timeline so that you have a plan when, where and who will be responsible for data collection. How much will be enough? What is the time intervals for data collection? What tools or technology will you be using and who will set up and test the equipment if necessary.
  5. Do you need permission or consent to collect the data? If you can collect your data as part of doing your job, you do not need permission. If you are asking others to do something beyond their normal activities, then you may need to have formal permission to collect this data. See the section on ethical issues. If you are working in a group, your advisory will be determining your need for permission and consent.

See Template for Data Collection Planning

Activity B: Building your Knowledge about Research Methods

Review the data artifacts in the resources for this tutorial. The Online Evaluation Resource Library (OERL) is a library developed for professionals seeking to design, conduct, document, or review project evaluations. Action Research is not the same as project evaluation but you may be using some of the same tools, just in a less formal way. If you are new to research, these modules can be an interactive way to learn more.

http://oerl.sri.com/module/modules.html


  • Data Collection:
  • Instrument Triangulation and Adaptation
  • Designing an Evaluation:
  • Developing Written Questionnaires:
  • Developing Interviews:


Activity C: Continuing your Action Research Journal or Blog:


The more regularly you write in your journal, the more written work you will have to pull from when you are ready to write your final report. You should be in the practice of making weekly entries. Here is a possible progression:
1) Reflective Description-- you tell us what took place and some thoughts about the how and why of the events. This chronicles your action research process and is very important
2) Reflective Practice -- This is the form of reflection where you draw out the connections between what is happening now with what has happened in the past and what you think might happen in the future. You have moved away from the description of the research setting to your larger framework of the nature of the practice that you are engaged in and how your action and reactions have helped you rethink the way you practice.
3) Reflective Knowledge Building--This moves to the abstract level... how does this event link to what you know and are learning. This is knowledge building. In the end, your knowledge should be different as you open up your philosophical stance and compare it to the data you have collected. There is a back and forth between the empirical data and the mental structure of your mind. It is a flexible state where you use data to explore the way you think.
For more ideas, see the section on reflection
See Tempate for Tutorial 7C Journal Writing

Activity D: Short Description of Your Action Research Project

Write a short descriptive summary of your action research to describe your work to others. This should focus on the nature of the problem you are working on and what actions you plan to take. You should try writing this fresh. Think-- how can get these new people interested in what I see is a problem. You might want to think back to values. It should take you about about a half hour to write and can be completed in a few paragraphs. Do this as soon as possible and share with others you might be working with either in learning circles or in your team. Then save this text and move it to your action research web site. This will be one of the several drafts you will use to craft your introduction in your final report.

Activity E: Action Research Timeline

Create, revise or revisit your timeline (part of your action research plan). Map out the activities and put dates to them working your way through to when you will be sharing your work with others.
  • __Planning
    • Reading the literature
    • Writing the lit review
    • Developing the question
    • Force field Analysis
    • Logic Model
  • __Cycle 1
    • Cycle research question
    • Taking action
    • Data collection
    • Data analysis
    • reflection
  • __cycle 2
    • Cycle research question
    • Taking action
    • Data collection
    • Data analysis
    • reflection
  • __Cycle 3
    • Cycle research question
    • Taking action
    • Data collection
    • Data analysis
    • reflection
  • Writing the report
  • Presenting the Action Research

What counts as a cycle will be different for each of you. They are not likely to be of equal duration or intensity. Your first action might only last a few days or a week and the second could be 3 months. Or the inverse is also possible. There is no need for each of your actions to be of equal duration. It is also possible for cycles to run concurrently as long as you have plans for how to write up the reports in way that does not place all of the writing at the end of the session. The point is to experiment with your actions, learn from your research and apply what you have learned to achieve a progressively better outcome. Sometimes you will find that you need to take a step backwards or sideways to learn how to move forward. There is no perfect number. We suggest 3 as a way to help you learn the process and go though the steps with us. Some students do as many as 6 and others do less. You might find you rethink what a cycle is as you move along.
  • Your First Cycle of Action Research report
Tell us the story of what you did and what happened. In order to tell this story you will need to have some way of documenting what happened. Reflect on the story in light of what you have been learning in your other courses. What will you do or change for your next cycle of action-reaction-reflection and plan?

  • The Second Cycle of Action Research report
Again it will depend on the way you work within your community. In some cases, it will be difficult to distinguish the cycles but your learning circle/critical friends/supervisor or colleagues should be able to help you do this. Map out the time this will take so that you can anticipate when you will be finished with cycle two.

  • The Third Cycle of Action Research planned or started
These due dates will be determined by the flow your action research. Some of you will have more than three iterations of you work. Three is a good number of cycles as you can see how these different passes help you shape your understanding of your work place.

Activity F- Transforming your Action Research Plan into your Report Outline



Your revised Action research plan should be saved together with all of the files you are creating. You can create a wiki to develop your action research portfolio. You can create an account here on wikispaces, or on google, or weebly or many other services.
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Action Research Report/Website Structure

Creating your online portfolio for your Action Research

Consider the the following Tabs:
Home, Action Research, Context, Literature Review, Cycles of Research, Reflection, References

Use images wherever possible:


HOME: Use the paragraphs you crafted in Activity D here giving an overview of the project

ACTION RESEARCH: Your visitors may be new to action research. Explain how you plan to use this process to develop your understanding andf skills by enacting change. Include your overall action research question here.

MY WORK/COMMUNITY CONTEXT: You don't need to identify your action research by name, although in some cases you may want to. But you can also say, a small company designing computer... or a large urban school in Southern California.

LITERATURE REVIEW Describe what you have learned about your topic from reading what others have done to solve this problem. It is helpful to have a summary and then have the visitor click again to read the whole report.

CYCLES OF RESEARCH (couild be a drop-down menu for each cycle, or you could have a page that describes the three cycles in a paragraph, each of which links to the larger report).

  1. CYCLE 1: (PLAN OR REPORT)
    1. FIRST CYCLE RESEARCH QUESTION: This question needs to contain two very important parts. The first part clear states what you will do in very specific language. And the second part shares your best guess at a outcome (the reactions of others that you expect to result from your action.) Your action research is a design experiment. You are designing with a eye towards deeper understanding of design action.
    2. EVIDENCE USED TO EVALUATE THE ACTION: What evidence will you collect to tell you how other respond to your action. What will you look to give you direct or indirect evidence of what happened?
    3. EVALUATION: How will you/did you evaluate the outcomes of your action?.....(Indicate your plans for your analysis in a paragraph or two).
    4. REFLECTION: (to be added after the cycle is complete) Looking back on my action with the benefit of data, I now think... and if I were to do this again I would have. The think that worked best was... What most surprised me from the data was...
  2. CYCLE 2: (Plan)
    1. PLANNING THE ACTION FOR CYCLE TWO: The outcomes and my reflections on cycle one has changed my plans in the following way. (While the plans might change after completing cycle one, share your current thoughts on second cycle of action research)
  3. CYCLE 3 (Place holder)

FINAL REFLECTIONS (You are not ready to write this yet but will be collecting ideas in you AR journal.

REFERENCES
    • Take these from the end of your lit. review and past them here.
  • (Congratualations...you have just completed your story board for your website. )






Activity G- Forum Discussions - Learning Circles


In a discussion, what builds knowledge? Here are some ideas of how you can participate in discussions about your action research with your colleagues/learning circle partners/or critical friends in way that builds knowledge together. When you provide feedback or comments back to your peers, what are you doing to help move the thinking forward?

Affirmations --
  • Help others see their strengths
  • Compliments are more effective with you can be specific about what make something good. We like to know others like our work, but we like it much better when we know why someone likes our work. What was it that they found impressive, cool, or powerful? This effort to reflect on why you found something good will help you be more reflective about your own choices.

Corrections:
  • Provide advice on spelling or grammar
  • Find broken links
  • Give feedback on navigation links, color, font problems or other issues you see

Extensions--
  • Look for underlying causes or draw connections between behavior on one setting and another.
  • Share a relevant story from your practice and making the conceptual link back to the their situation.
  • Summarize a discussion pulling what others have said and synthesizing into a few clear positions and then extending the discussion.
  • Find more evidence to support their ideas or practice.
  • Represent the information in the way that helps see the connections

Constructive Criticism --
  • Suggest design improvement in the action research or different methods that they might try.
  • Challenge a position or assumption with the goal of helping the person be more reflective on different perspectives.
  • Find and share information that challenge there ideas or practice.
  • Represent the information in a way that helps one see different connections.

Ask yourself what you are doing before, during and after writing a comment. Be aware of your development of your skill to build knowledge collaboratively through dialogue.




or T7 Resources
Move on to Tutorial 8


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